Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dysplastic Nevus....Whaaaaaat?

Today I headed to Dr. Cool Guy, my local dermatologist, to have my stitches removed & get my final results. When the nurse called last week to let me know that my mole came back "OK" (She didn't want me to worry over the nurse ever!) she told me that everything was fine. Dr. Cool Guy had a different reaction to the results.

He walked in, gave me a hug, and said "OK. The mole was a compound dysplastic nevus with moderate cytoarchitectural atypia." I gave him the "please dumb it down" look and he said, "It's not melanoma, but I am glad it is off of you." Well, in that case, me too! 

What is a dysplastic nevus? Otherwise known as an atypical mole, a dysplastic nevus is a type of mole that looks different from a common mole. It can be larger than a normal mole, varies in color, and is usually flat. A dysplastic nevus is not cancer.

If a dysplastic nevus is not cancer than why is the dermatologist happy that I had the mole removed? A dysplastic nevus is more likely to become melanoma than your normal mole. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, people who have atypical moles are "at increased risk of developing single or multiple melanomas." They also explain that melanoma can begin within a dysplastic nevus.

What happens when you learn that you have a dysplastic melanoma? Well, don't freak out. Instead, use this diagnosis as a learning experience for you, especially those folks who do not have melanoma. Grab a partner, have regular at home skin checks, schedule to see a dermatologist once every 6 months, stay far away from the tanning bed, wear sunscreen--even on overcast days! Remember, when caught early, melanoma is treatable. Be smart. 

Okay, I am finished lecturing for the night. Check out my friend Al's blog. He explains how we had our own "Occupy" event the other night! Whatever it takes, we'll get the word out.


Kate said...

About 6 weeks ago I had the same exact thing removed - the pathology said "compound dysplastic nevus with moderate cytoarchitectural atypia." I had it removed with clear margins and was sent on my way. It did freak me out but I'm glad it's been removed. I feel like I now have 10 million moles that look exactly like that one. Anyway, I got the skin check in the first place because of your blog, so thank you! So glad you are ok!

Ranisa said...

Thanks for clarifing what compound dysplastic nevus is....I had the same thing on the last mole that I got removed. I think I have had it before too. Now I am grateful that I know what it is. I have the next oncology appt tomorrow and I am going to see if what he thinks of my other moles. For some reason the oncologist seems more willing to remove moles over the dermatologist.

allison said...

Wow, I think that is great what you are doing to get the word out how dangerous melanoma is! I to recently got a melanoma surgically removed on my chest. now I am getting a dysplastic nevus removed which I was looking up online to find out what it was and came across your Blog. it is a scary thing because I to have lots of moles and I wish I could just get them all off instead of just keeping an eye on them
Allison/ age 37

Unknown said...

thank you for sharing your story!! that was so brave of you. I too have recently had a melanoma removed on my chest however it was caught early and didn't spread. now I am getting a dysplastic nevus surgically removed. I too have lots of moles and I wish I could just get them all removed instead of just watching them.
Allison -37

Anonymous said...

Thank you to all of you who have posted your experiences with this type of mole. I just received the results of 4 areas that were tested. One of which is moderate atypia compound nevus (dysplastic). 2 others are same but mild. The one I originally went in for was totally fine. But the others the dermatologist found on my backside which I can't see for myself. I had no clue what all this meant until I read this site & all the comments so I thank you all for helping to understand more clearly before making a decision.